As the Obama administration enters a summer of heavy lifting in Congress, two new polls show that while the president remains personally popular voters are taking a more critical look at his policies.
This summer is a critical one for the White House, as it seeks to gets its health care and financial regulation overhaul proposals through Congress. Also on the legislative docket: the president’s first Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
Independents' cooling ardor
While still high, the president’s overall job approval and personal ratings have slipped, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday evening. His overall job approval rating now stands at 56 percent, down from 61 percent in April. The Journal poll, conducted by Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican pollster Bill McInturff, found that among independent voters Obama’s rating dropped from nearly two to one approval down to a closely divided stance.
The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, also released Wednesday evening, found a “distinct gulf” between Obama’s overall standing and how some of his policy initiatives are viewed. When asked if Obama’s economic policies had made the economy better, 48 percent of those polled by the Times said they had no effect yet. Some 60 percent of poll respondents said the president had not developed a clear plan to deal with budget deficits. When asked how Obama had done handling the auto industry crisis, 46 percent disapproved of his performance.
Professional, not personal, concerns
NBC Political Director Chuck Todd, speaking on the network’s nightly news broadcast, said, “The honeymoon is coming to an end for President Obama, but it’s not personal. It’s professional, as now the public appears to be judging the president on some of his actions. And right now there’s a growing concern about the budget deficit, and some of this government interaction into the economy on things like GM.”
The new poll results come after Obama has been hammered by Republicans for taking on too many issues and spending too much money. But the Journal poll found that only 37 percent of those surveyed thought Obama has taken on too much. Some 60 percent said he was taking on a wide variety of issues because the country is facing so many problems.
Obama's dip does not help the GOP
While political fire from Republicans may have dimmed Obama’s luster on policy issues, it has not helped the Republican Party’s own standing. In the CBS News/New York Times poll, 28 percent of those surveyed had a favorable view of the GOP, while 58 percent had an unfavorable view. The GOP's favorability rating dropped 3 percentage points in the last month.
The comparable figures for the Democratic Party in the Times poll was 57 percent favorable, 32 percent not favorable.
You always do well in our polls. But if you follow us on Twitter, it could give you an extra five or six points!